The well-known Ballykeane apple and pear orchards in central-west New South Wales have been sold to a local operator for about $10 million. The 190-hectare aggregation of four holdings was sold to local orchardist, Megafruits Australia, which is expanding its existing operations of apple and cherry orchards.
In total, the four stand-alone orchards –Ballykeane, St Albans, Nashdale and Merlewood– amount to about 116 hectares, planted with apple and pear varieties of various ages. The majority of the trees are under hail netting.
Ballykeane aggregation is part of the Leone family’s JW Kirwood fruit business, which was established in 1971. It includes a wholesale marketing arm based out of the Sydney markets. As well as the Ballykeane orchards, the family owns the 120-hectare Ticehurst stone fruit orchard with 90,000 trees, the largest of its kind in southern Tasmania.
Strong commodity prices and good rainfall made rural property a target ripe for investment from corporate players during much of last year.
Photo source: Dreamstime.com